Friday, September 23, 2011


Charles Lester Steps into Coastal Commission Executive Director Role

The California Coastal Commission appointed Charles Lester as the new Executive Director of the agency, following the recent retirement of long time Coastal Commission leader Peter Douglas. Lester was the Acting Deputy Director of the Central Coast District under Douglas and stepped in to fill the role of interim Executive Director. Peter Douglas recommended Charles Lester as his successor when he announced his retirement. On September 8, 2011, the interim appointment was made permanent.

Lester has been working for the California Coastal Commission for the past 14 years. He has also served as District Manager of the Central Coast, which includes the coastal zones of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties as well as the incorporated coastal cities in these counties.

Charles Lester's background and expertise in coastal policy makes him a very good fit for the appointment. He received his Bachelor's degree in geochemistry from Columbia College in New York City. He attended the University of California Berkeley for law school and a Ph.D. in Jurisprudence and Social Policy in 1992. His doctoral dissertation evaluated the implementation of the Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Program. Prior to taking his current position with the California Coastal Commission, he was a professor of environmental policy and law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lester made a statement regarding his new role: “I am deeply committed to implementing the Coastal Act, but I am also a problem-solver, and I look forward to bringing people together around environmentally sustainable solutions that protect coastal resources and provide maximum public access to the coast for all Californians.”


Monday, September 19, 2011


New Date Set for MLPA. Jan 1, 2012

The Fish and Game Commission approved a new implementation date of Jan 1, 2012 for Marine Protected Areas in the South Coast.  By waiting until Jan 1, 2012, the Commission has been able to ensure all regulations and final elements of the maps are vetted thoroughly.  See the press release issued by the Commission regarding the new Jan 1 date here.

Photo:  Dana Murray
Two years ago when the final set of Stakeholder maps were released, the Surfrider Foundation held community forums around the South Coast to receive feedback from local communities.  We plan on holding similar forums during the month of Nov.  The main goals of the forums are to:

  • Notify local communities about the  new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that will soon go into effect.  
  • Discuss maps, locations, and regulations for each MPA. 
  • Talk about future work to ensure these MPAs are successful.  
We plan on holding forums in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.  Please return to this blog to find out the dates and locations once they have been selected. 

Monday, September 12, 2011


End of CA Legislative Season. Many Good Bills Head to Governor's Desk

Photo: Matthew Hendricks 
This was an exciting legislative season.  The Surfrider Foundation co-sponsored a piece of legislation that was authored by Senator Lowenthal.  SB 568 also known as The Sustainable Take-out Food Packaging Bill is geared toward phasing out Styrofoam food containers.  Styrofoam is one of the biggest sources of litter on our beaches and in our oceans.  The bill was put on hold and officially became a "2-year bill" (meaning it will come back during the next legislative season).  It's fairly common for bills to become "2-year bills".  Typically bills are put on hold to ensure enough votes are garnered from both houses to pass.

Assmblymember Lownethal said it best:
"I'm disappointed we were not able to get SB 568 off the Assembly floor this year.  The money and effort spent to kill this bill was too great to overscome.  We simply ran out of time.  However, I'm confident that given the rest of the year to educate a few more members...we will be successful".  
Read more about SB 568 here.

Good Bills Heading to Governor's Desk

AB 42 (Huffman)--is a bill that would allow nonprofit organizations to help operate state parks that might otherwise close.  This bi-partisan bill comes at dire times when the state is slated to close 25% of our state parks.  To send a message to the Governor asking him to sign the bill, sign this action alert created by our friends at the CA State Park Foundation here:

SB 833 (Vargas)-- is a much needed bill that would halt the development of a new landfill at Gregory Canyon in San Diego.  This horrible project would threaten drinking water for tens of thousands of residents, and would ruin adjacent Native America sites.  This bill also contains other wonder elements such as increased recycling, new technologies and the expansion of existing landfills.  Contact the Governor and tell him you support SB 833 here.

AB 376 (Fong and Huffman)--received copious media attention during the legislative season.  This bill   would help end the practice of shark finning by prohibiting sale, possession, or trade of shark fins in California.  Read more about it here.

The legislature will return in Janurary 2012.  Stay tuned as Surfrider will re-double our efforts to pass the Sustainable Take-out Food Packaging Bill.

AB 1319 (Pavley and Butler)-- is a much needed bill that would ban the use of BPA (a horrible chemical that has been linked to cancer and hormone disruption) in the use of baby bottles and sippy cups.  If Governor Brown signs the bill California will be the 11th state to ban BPA and will follow suit of other countries around the world.  Our friends at Environmental Working Group have this action alert, please sign it.

AB 1112 (Huffman)-- is a bill that authorizes the Office of Spill and Prevention and Response to temporarily increase the per barrel fee on oil from 5-cents to 6.5 cents beginning January 1 2012. The increase will prevent the Oil Spill Prevention and Administration Fund (OSPAF) from going into insolvency and helps ensure the OSPAF continues its critical oversight on oil extraction in our precious waterways.    

AB359 (Huffman)--this bill would require local groundwater agencies, as a condition of receiving state grants or loans for groundwater projects to include in their groundwater management plans a map identifying groundwater recharge areas.  These maps will identify areas that significantly contribute to the replenishment of the local groundwater supply.  This bill would also expand public notification when preparing and approving the groundwater plan, including the notification to organizations representing landowners within the identified prime recharge areas.      

The legislature will return in Janurary 2012.  Stay tuned as Surfrider will re-double our efforts to pass the Sustainable Take-Out Food Packaging Bill.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


MLPA Implementation Date Delayed

You may have heard the implementation date for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has been pushed back from Oct 1.  The state is doing its due diligence to make sure the final rules and boundaries match up to the plan proposed by local stakeholders and approved by the Commission. Surfrider Foundation, along with all the tens of thousands of southern Californians who helped participate in the process, are looking forward to the new MPAs as soon as the state has completed its work.

Below is a press release from the CA Fish and Game.

California Department of Fish and Game News Release
August 25, 2011
Media Contact:  Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications, (916) 654-9937

Fish and Game Commission Will Discuss New Effective Date for South Coast MPAs

The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) will discuss alternative effective dates for implementation of the Southern California marine protected areas (MPAs) at its next meeting. The MPAs were previously expected to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2011, after the Commission chose that date at its June meeting. They will now discuss a new implementation date at the Sept. 15 meeting in Redding.

This decision comes after the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) informed the Commission that they will not approve the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) south coast MPAs regulatory package in time to make it effective Oct. 1, 2011 as anticipated. It is a complicated package and OAL informed the Commission that it has additional questions and requests for more information that will require a re-notice.

On Dec. 15, 2010 the Commission adopted regulations to create a suite of MPAs in the South Coast Study Region, which spans which spans state waters from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the U.S./Mexico border. Developed under the MLPA Initiative planning process, this network of 36 MPAs will be added to the 13 existing MPAs and two special closures in the Northern Channel Islands, which were established in 2003. Combined, the 49 MPAs and two special closures cover approximately 354 square miles of state waters and represent approximately 15 percent of the region.


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